Hold On To Your Wallets: Obama Administration Announces Severe New Regulations For Coal Power Plants


Today the Obama administration announced new emissions rules for existing power plants that would require them to reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2030. That comes on top of an already proposed rule for new power plants that North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Randy Christmann has said was set for political reasons.

“It seems like they’re just picking a number that can’t be met,” he told me back in January.

The Obama administration on Monday unveiled the first-ever national limits on carbon emissions from existing power plants, a controversial regulation aimed at fulfilling a key plank of President Obama’s climate change agenda.

The Environmental Protection Agency wants existing plants to cut pollution by 30 percent by 2030, under the plan.

The draft regulation sidesteps Congress, where Obama’s Democratic allies have failed to pass a so-called “and-trade” plan to limit such emissions. The EPA plan will go into effect in June 2016, following a one-year comment period. States will then be responsible for executing the rule with some flexibility.

With America still getting nearly 40 percent of its energy from coal, and with alternatives like wind and solar much more expensive and much less reliable, you can expect these regulations to have a direct impact on your pocketbook. If these rules are allowed to go into place, your utility bills will be going up.

According to President Obama, the new ruled are needed because climate change is a national health crisis, or something:

On Saturday, Obama tried to bolster public support for the new rule by arguing that carbon-dioxide emissions are a national health crisis — beyond hurting the economy and causing global warming.

“We don’t have to choose between the health of our economy and the health of our children,” Obama said in his weekly address. “As president and as a parent, I refuse to condemn our children to a planet that’s beyond fixing.”

Those words don’t exactly jibe with reality here in North Dakota. The American Lung Association released their State of the Air report card for North Dakota back in April, and air quality in North Dakota is excellent. What’s more, they specifically measured in areas of intense energy development. Coal counties like Mercer and Oliver, not to mention oil counties like McKenzie and Dunn, received top grades for air quality despite the presence of several large coal-fired power plants and no small amount of oil production and natural gas flaring.

President Obama says we shouldn’t have to make a choice between health and the economy. That’s true. Here in North Dakota we have both strong energy development, creating jobs and prosperity for the state, as well as extremely healthy air.